Dorothy Jean “DJ” Tillman is on the path to greatness. This 12-year-old has already surpassed people three times her age with two college degrees underneath her belt. Tillman received her bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College in New York earlier this week. Her latest diploma can go alongside DJ’s associate degree in the field of science.



“I want to go into my masters in environmental engineering, but I do want to take a couple gap months,” the 12-year-old tells media of her future plans in education. “School wasn’t as fun anymore,” DJ says of her reason for wanting to take a little break. “It wasn’t as fast-paced.”

Still, even with a gap year in between, DJ Tillman is quite the remarkable young lady. “My child care provider Miss Mary first noticed,” Jimalita, DJ’s mom, says of her daughter’s brilliance. “She said, ‘You got a special baby that you need to understand that this baby has been here before.’ I had no idea what ‘this baby has been here before’ meant.”

DJ’s nanny noticed how quickly the then-toddler picked up on math concepts and challenged her to flex her brain muscles. “Dorothy, I believe started doing double digits by four or three and we are really excited about the way she loved learning,” Jimalita reveals.

DJ’s achievement sheds a positive light on her hometown of Chicago. “There are some great things coming out of the south side of Chicago and this, my baby, is one of the greatest of them all,” Jimalita tells media.

So what does DJ plan to do with a master’s degree in environmental science? “With environmental engineering, it’s all about helping people, the environment, and that’s just what I love to do, that’s what makes me happy,” the tween reveals.

You should be on the lookout for this young intellectual. She’s doing great things!



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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